Shale reserves, estimated at more than two trillion barrels in the U.S., are a potential source of oil that now may be economically unlocked thanks to technology developed by Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN) and its partner, CF Technologies.
Radio frequency (RF) energy combined with critical fluid (CF) technology shows promise for efficiently extracting oil from shale. Historically, the lack of an economical and environmentally friendly way for extracting oil from shale has kept it from being a significant energy source.
"Raytheon is an expert in RF technology," said Lee Silvestre, director of Mission Innovation at Raytheon IDS. "What makes this effort a breakthrough is that similar RF technology that we have been applying in core defense products -- radars for tracking and guidance systems -- has demonstrated applications in the energy crisis."
Combining RF and CF technologies provides a revolutionary way for recovering oil from shale reserves worldwide, according to John Moses, president of CF Technologies. Based on laboratory results and analysis, the oil produced is a light product, comparable to kerosene that can be produced by the unique process with high extraction efficiency. In addition to producing more oil from shale formations, some companies may consider it an option for improving return from existing reserves that have been marginal, including heavy oils, tar sands and spent wells.